It has been more than seven years since Katie Taylor last had to respond to defeat, but after her loss to Chantelle Cameron in May, she’s embraced that emotion. For long-standing champions who lose later in their careers, some may look at a loss as a sign a career is nearing its conclusion — but Taylor sees things differently.
Retirement is not on the mind of Taylor (22-1, 6 KOs), 37, who insists she will be better against Cameron (18-0, 8 KOs) in their rematch Saturday. Cameron scored the majority decision win with two of the judges scoring it 96-94 and the third judge having it a draw.
“I’m not thinking about this fight will be my last fight, I’m not thinking about any other outcome other than a win,” Taylor told ESPN. “I feel very fresh and good in the gym, I feel I’ve got plenty of fights left in me. I will retire when I feel the time is right. I’ve got no intention of hanging up the gloves right now. Retirement never came into my mindset after the last fight, it’s never good for any fighter to be thinking about retirement going into a fight.”
Taylor, one of the biggest stars ever in women’s boxing, says there were reasons behind not being at her best earlier this year, just as there were in 2016 when she was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Rio de Janeiro Games. The 2012 gold medalist described 2016 as a year of ‘turmoil’ for her boxing career and her family. Before the 2016 Olympics, Taylor’s parents split up and Katie decided to no longer have her father as her boxing coach.
After the disappointment and shock of losing at the Olympics, Taylor turned professional and made quick progress. A year later she won a world title and went on to become undisputed world lightweight champion as well as winning a world title at junior welterweight, with big wins over the likes of Jessica McCaskill, Natasha Jonas, Delfine Persoon (twice) and Amanda Serrano. The run continued until earlier this year.
Cameron, 32, from Northampton who trains in Manchester, outpunched Taylor in Taylor’s first professional performance on home soil in Ireland. Taylor, from Bray in Ireland but who trains and lives in Connecticut, is still the undisputed world lightweight champion as Cameron’s junior welterweight belts were on the line when they met. Taylor will once again challenge the Englishwoman for her four belts, back at the indoor at the 3Arena in Dublin.
“I think failure causes you to analyze things a little bit more and that’s been the case for this fight,” Taylor said. “I think that’s where all the growth happens, when you suffer a loss you are forced to look at every single factor and I feel a better boxer than before now.
“The preparation is better [for the rematch] and I feel a lot better going into this fight, I feel in top form and I am looking forward to showing my best on the actual night. I think everyone could see that I definitely wasn’t at my best in the last fight, so I’m looking forward to getting things right for the next one…. This camp has been very different. I don’t want to expand o nit. I fell short on the night. I feel mentally and physically better going into this one. I’m very grateful to get a second chance to make things right.”
Avenging her lone professional loss is Taylor’s only goal on Saturday. Cameron, the undisputed world junior welterweight champion who has now won six world title fights in a row, was busier than Taylor in the first fight. Cameron landed more total punches (141 to 111) and more power punches (114 to 90) than Taylor, according to CompuBox.
“I’ve prepared for what ever comes my way, she has a high work rate and she will bring that to the table on the night,” Taylor said. “It would be one of the best wins of my career [to beat Cameron at the weekend]. This one feels special. I’m looking forward to the revenge I guess and I love going into these fights where people are doubting me…. I’m not saying there’s any extra pressure this time around because every fight has pressure, but this is probably my most important fight yet in my career. This is a must win fight.”